Lawmakers ‘Celebrate’ US$536Million Loan

-Rain Praises & Vow To Work Expeditiously

By Reuben Sei Waylaun

The ‘embattled’ US$million loan agreement seems to be taking root as envisaged by those in the executive branch as lawmakers are giving overwhelming support for the ratification of the loan.

The National Legislature, Republic of Liberia

There has been public condemnation over the arrangement for the loan agreement between Liberia and a Singapore-based investment company, Eton Finance Private Limited.

Many of the criticisms had been the lack of good track records for Eton Finance Private Limited, with many alleging that the company doesn’t have proven history of undertaking such deals and as such, it has been in ‘complete dormancy.’

The Public Hearing By Lawmakers:

Following the numerous criticisms and acceptance from some quarters, the joint legislative committees on Ways, Means, finance, Judiciary and Public Works of both the Liberian Senate and the House of Representatives Monday convened a public hearing on the US$536million loan agreement pending ratification.

Monday’s hearing presided by Montserrado County electoral district five Representative, Thomas Fallah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and Chairman of the committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning was attended by Public Works Minister Mabutu Vlah Nyenpan, Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean and Deputy Finance Minister for Fiscal Affairs, Samora Wolokollie among others.

After deliberations from members of the executive Branch of Government who had gone to authenticate the legitimacy of the loan and why the loan should be ratified by members of the National Legislature, lawmakers in the gathering were overwhelmingly convinced; thereby giving their unflinching supports to the executive branch.

The US$536million when ratified will help alleviate the deplorable roads in the country particularly the southeastern region and some parts of western Liberia according to Public Works Minister, Mabutu Vlah Nyenpan. The loan will also ensure the construction of mini stadiums in some selected counties across the country.

Monday’s public hearing on the US$536million was attended by several lawmakers from both houses. They include Senators Milton Teahjay, Morris Saytumah, Peter Coleman, Dallas Gueh among others. The Representatives include Thomas Fallah, Jeremiah Kpan Koung, Francis Dopoh, Nathaniel Barway, Matthew Zarzar, Julie Fatormah Wieh, Tibelrosa Tanponweh, Kanio Weso, Larry Younquoi, Samuel Kogar, Matthew Joe, Dixon Seboe, Rosana Shaack, Ellen Attoh, Joseph Sonwabi, Gunpue Kargon, Ben Fofana among others.

Following the deliberations from the witnesses (the executive branch’s officials), the lawmakers were overly impressed and convinced that there is a need for the loan to be ratified by the legislature in order to bring relieve to the people of the southeast.

For Senator Milton Teahjay of Sinoe County, he said the country is at war with poverty and as such, he is not prepared to block the ratification of the loan agreement.

“We are about to be redeemed after 170 years of degradation as a nation and people,” he said.

Representative Kanio Weso of Gbarpolu County electoral district two wants the loan agreement to be considered in ‘totality’.

Senator Peter Coleman of Grand Kru County says the pavement of those roads will ensure some steps toward reducing maternal and infant mortalities in the country because accessible roads will be a boast to the health sector.

According to Coleman who is a Medical Doctor by profession, the loan agreement is in the best interest of the Liberian health sector.

Montserrado County electoral district 16 Representative, Dixon Wlawlee Seboe said the country is on the right path and they as lawmakers will ratify expeditiously.

Senator Morris Saytumah of Bomi County defended that the loan has limited exposure and as such, it is in the best interest of the country.

Representatives Marvin Cole of Bong, Tibelrosa Tanponweh of Margibi counties pledged their unflinching supports to expeditiously work toward the ratification of the loan agreement.

Other Lawmakers:

Representatives Larry Younquoi and Jeremiah Kpan Koung of Nimba County electoral districts eight and one said they were in support of the pavement of roads across the country, particularly the southeast and the western part of the country but were concerned about the road from Ganta to Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County.

Along the route, the only referral hospital in the region (Jackson F. Doe Hospital) is located in Tappita, Nimba County. They reminded the team from the executive branch of government that the feasibility studies have since been done but works yet to commence on the road.

Representative Younquoi suggested that the need for the construction of mini stadiums across the country to delay and prioritize roads instead.

Representative Julie Fatormah Wieh of Lofa County electoral district two was seriously concern about the roads in her district, particularly the road from Kolahun to Vahun which according to her serves as major impediment in her district.

Lawmakers Accused of Demanding 10% from US$536million:

Recently, there were allegations in the public that lawmakers were demanding 10% from the US$536million loan from the executive branch before passage.

The lawmakers have since denied the allegations, but Unity Party Press and Propaganda head, Mohammed Ali has previously warned that any member of the party in the House of Representatives who will be caught accepting 10% as bribe will be expelled from the party with immediate effect.

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